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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Tuesday
Feb092016

"The Salvation of Your Souls" -- 1 Peter 1:1-12

The Second in a Series of Sermons on 1 Peter

Why does God allow his people to find themselves as aliens and strangers in their own land?  How do Christians find joy in times of trial and suffering?  What purpose can there in suffering such as this?  Peter will seek to answer these questions by pointing his struggling readers and hearers back to the promises God makes to us in the gospel.  We have been given a living hope grounded in the same power through which God raised Jesus from the dead, a hope to be realized in part in this life, but fully in the next.  This hope is not just so many words, but is grounded in the fact that what the Old Testament prophets (and even angels) longed to see, has come to pass in the person and work of Jesus Christ and now the basis of the living hope promised to the people of God.

We continue with our new series on 1 Peter by undertaking a brief review of the ground we covered last time (Peter’s greeting in vv. 1-2), before we turn to our text (vv. 3-12), which is the Apostle Peter’s opening words of encouragement to the elect exiles of the Diaspora in Asia Minor (modern Turkey).  As we saw last time–I would encourage you to listen to last week’s introductory sermon on the church website or my blog–Peter is writing to Christians and Jews throughout much of Asia Minor, many of whom had been uprooted from their homes by a decree from the Roman emperor Claudius, which granted land in this region to retired Roman soldiers.  Many of those uprooted by Claudius’ decree were Christians (both Jewish and Gentile) who were viewed as exiles in their own land because they refused to worship the Roman gods (including Claudius), and because they would not participate in local pagan religious rituals, many of which were part of daily life in the Greco-Roman world.  

The Apostle opens this letter by declaring, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.”  The Christians throughout the provinces mentioned were persecuted because of their faith in Jesus Christ.  Although hated by their neighbors because of their Christian faith, Peter tells them they can take great comfort in the fact that they are loved by God who has chosen them in Jesus Christ, “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.”  Foreknowledge is not merely God’s knowledge of what will happen in the future, but refers to God’s intimate knowledge of the individuals whom he has chosen to save through the merits of Jesus Christ.  God knows each of these people personally.  He knows their trials and their suffering.

These “elect exiles,” as Peter identifies them, are chosen by God and said to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit, for the purpose of “obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood.”  Although Peter’s audience are now exiles in their own land, God has called his elect out from pagan darkness into the wonderful light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The primary meaning of “sanctified” as used here by Peter means to be set apart by God for his purposes.  In this case, those called by God through the gospel are sprinkled with the blood of Jesus (the guilt of their sins is washed away) and are set apart for obedience to Jesus, the one who saves them from their sins.

Peter’s greeting to these elect exiles is overtly Trinitarian.  God’s people are not merely theists, but they are believers in the one true God who reveals himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Their belief in the Triune God, as well as salvation by the merits of Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit, marks these exiles off as citizens of a heavenly kingdom.  They may live as exiles in the civil kingdom with its joys, duties, and dangers, yet they possess a heavenly citizenship for which they long, and which gives this life meaning and purpose.  These elect exiles need to know that whatever suffering and persecution they experience during their time in exile during the Diaspora is actually preparing them to receive all of the benefits of their heavenly citizenship by strengthening their faith.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
Feb082016

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (February 8-14)

Sunday Morning, February 14:  As we continue our series on the Book of Daniel, we come to vv. 24-44 of chapter 2 and Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream.  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  We continue our study of the Heidelberg Catechism.  Our topic this week is the source and character of faith from Lord's Day 7, Q & A 20-23.  Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study, February 10:  We begin our verse by verse study of 1 Thessalonians.  Our study begins at 7:30 p.m.

The Friday Night Academy:  February 12:  We continue with our series "In the Land of Nod."  We are discussing the Reformed doctrine of the two kingdoms.  This week address the possibility of "Christian" nations in the new covenant era and then we will discuss the importance of Christians as "good citizens." The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m.

For more information on Christ Reformed Church you can always find us here (Christ Reformed Info), or on Facebook (Christ Reformed on Facebook).

Sunday
Feb072016

"Whose Dwelling Is Not With Flesh" -- Daniel 2:1-24

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon: Click Here

Sunday
Feb072016

Friday Night Academy Audio

Here's the audio from Friday night's Academy lecture.  Being a Christian Citizen in a Secular State:  Is America a Judea-Christian Republic?

Sunday
Feb072016

This Week's White Horse Inn

The Story of Moses (Part 1)

On this program the hosts continue their series, The Story of God’s People, as we look at the great characters and moments of redemptive history. This week we will begin a two-part exploration of the life and ministry of Moses.

Who was Moses and why was he such an important figure in ancient Israel? How do the events in Moses’ life end up foreshadowing the greatest story ever told? That’s the focus of this edition of White Horse Inn.

Click Here

Tuesday
Feb022016

"Elect Exiles" -- 1 Peter 1:1-12

The First in a Series of Sermons on 1 Peter

Presumably, most of us are US citizens–either by birth or by naturalization.  American citizenship entitles us to all the benefits and privileges of living in the United States.  Yet, our national citizenship also carries with it the responsibilities of being an American–we vote, we pay taxes, we may be called to serve in the miliary, etc.  But in addition to our US citizenship, Christians possess another kind of citizenship.  If we trust in Jesus Christ and possess the Christian passport (baptism), we are also citizens of Christ’s kingdom–we hold a dual citizenship.  Just as our natural citizenship provides us with certain benefits, and places certain responsibilities upon us, so to does our citizenship in Christ’s kingdom.  The purpose of Peter’s first epistle is to spell out both the privileges and responsibilities of our membership in Christ’s kingdom, even as we dwell in the midst of the civil kingdom with its many blessings, its numerous duties and obligations, and its soul-threatening dangers.

We begin a new series on three of the seven so-called “catholic epistles” or “general epistles” found in the New Testament.  The three epistles we’ll be covering in this series are 1st and 2nd Peter, along with Jude.  The reason why these letters (along with James and the three epistles of John) are called “catholic” or “general” epistles is because they are addressed to Christians in general, and are not addressed to specific individuals or churches as is the case with the letters of Paul.  The general letters come out of the very heart of the apostolic circle:  Peter–the chief apostle; James the half-brother of Jesus and the leader of the Jerusalem church as well as one the first Christian martyrs; John–the author of the gospel bearing his name, three epistles and the Book of Revelation; and Jude, another half-brother of Jesus.  So, the general letters are very important if too often overlooked.

Reformed Christians often view themselves as students of Paul–because in our own history the doctrinal debates we have faced often deal with the question of how sinners are reckoned as forgiven and righteous before God (justification).  Our theologians write books on Paul and especially his commentaries on Romans and Galatians–with good reason.  We need to properly understand the gospel in order to share it with others, and to live in light of the countless blessings secured for us by Jesus Christ.  While the battles over justification are important, and we do need to be thoroughly conversant with Paul and his letters, I suggest that American Christians must now also fight on a second front–the ever-growing challenge of secularization.  The two letters of Peter and the short letter from Jude provide first century Christians with very specific instructions about how Christians are to live as exiles in a foreign land.  For the original recipients of these letters, this meant the diaspora of the Greco-Roman world of the first century because the Christians receiving this letter had been forcibly removed by Roman authorities from the cities in which they had been born and raised.  

While I am at home in the land of my birth and find much here of value and joy, as I get older I am also aware that the land in which I live is becoming increasingly hostile to the things I believe about the meaning and purpose of life, the values I hold dear, as well as those things I believe as a Christian as expressed in the Apostles Creed.  In many ways, I feel like a foreigner in my own country–not a foreigner in the sense of race, custom, or culture, but a foreigner in light of how my neighbor sees the world, how they live their lives, what they think important, and how they make decisions about right and wrong.  I simply do not believe the same things about the meaning and purpose of life which most of my neighbors do.  Part of the reason is I have a dual citizenship and they do not.

To read the rest of this sermon:  Click Here

Monday
Feb012016

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (February 1-7)

Sunday Morning, February 7:  We are continuing our series on the Book of Daniel.  This coming Lord's Day we will consider Nebuchadnezzar's dream and Daniel's offer to interpret (Daniel 2:1-24).  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  We continue our study of the Heidelberg Catechism.  Our topic this week is the nature of faith from Lord's Day 7, Q & A 20-23.  Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study, February 3:  We are continuing our overview of Paul's two Thessalonian letters.  This week we look at echoes from the Old Testament.  Our study begins at 7:30 p.m.

The Friday Night Academy:  February 5:  The Academy continues this week with our series "In the Land of Nod" discussing the two kingdoms.  This week, we focus upon the question, "Is America a Judeo-Christian Republic?"  The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m.

For more information on Christ Reformed Church you can always find us here (Christ Reformed Info), or on Facebook (Christ Reformed on Facebook).

Sunday
Jan312016

"Ten Times Better" -- Daniel 1:17-21

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon:  Click Here

Sunday
Jan312016

Friday Night Academy Audio

Sunday
Jan312016

This Week's White Horse Inn

The Story of Joseph

On this program the hosts continue their series, The Story of God’s People, as they look at the great characters and moments of redemptive history. On this edition of the program the hosts are taking a look at Joseph. In Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famous musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream-coat, audiences around the world are presented with a parable about what we can all accomplish if we dream big dreams, since at the end of the day, “Any Dream Will Do.”

So is this the best way to read the story of Joseph? Is he just a model for us to emulate if we dream big dreams? What if the story is not about us at all, but rather is about God and his plan of redemption? That’s the focus of this edition of the White Horse Inn as the hosts continue their series, The Story of God’s People.

Click Here